Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Bounty

From superior gardener and faithful commentor Marvel:

Don’t you just LOVE Summer???????!

It was a slow, mild Spring here in the Willamette Valley. Turns out, slow & mild suits me (and the garden) just fine. It’s a kind of full-spectrum Circle of Life thing out there: harvesting the early stuff (e.g., garlic, beets, carrots), planting the Fall & Winter stuff (e.g., cabbage, peas, greens) and killing as many bad bugs and weeds as can be kilt.

We planted a few varieties of beets, most of them colorful, and harvesting them is like plunging your hand into a treasure chest, not knowing which earthy gem you’ll come up with.

We pulled up the garlic — a whole bed’s-worth. We laid them out on shelves snug in the garden shed where they rested & dried for about a month and I just finished cleaning & trimming ’em. The wonderful scent of garlic made me wish we had planted pasta & skillets, too.

This year I’m trying something new. I usually don’t achieve a very good germination rate when I plant shelling peas and think it’s because I plant them too deeply (they’re supposed to be planted a mere inch below the soil surface). I’m always afraid that they’ll ‘float’ up too far when I water ’em. So with this Fall crop, I nestled ’em in under a thin layer of amended soil & covered them with a lightweight board to help them hold moisture & STAY PUT when I water them. Good luck little peas!

Walla walla, wall-to-wall!

We keep a garden journel and every year include an inventory of what’s growing out there. Here goes:
Apples, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, onions, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes. Basil, chamomile, chives, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme. PLUS, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds and some white clover (this year’s Can’t Lick ‘Em/Join ‘Em groundcover — it kills weeds and the bees love it).


Here north of Boston, we’re finally getting the first ripe full-sized tomatoes. Normally we can count on the harvest starting in mid-July, but this unusually mild rain-every-three-day summer has been great for the flowers but not so great for setting fruit. Hit of the season so far is a new variety from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Tati’s Wedding, which is intensely flavorful and meaty. It’s now on my must-have list (along with Bearclaw, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Chocolate Stripes, Japanese Black Trifele, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Opalka, Paul Robeson, Sungold, White Currant… )

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?

38 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bad year for my garden. Squash are OK, same with beans and hot peppers, but tomatoes? They stopped ripening about 3 weeks ago. Have no idea why. They are also under constant attack by hornworms. My broccoli and cabbage all burned up before they got going. Got a second batch started for a fall crop. We’ll see if “try try again” works.

  2. 2
    opiejeanne says:

    Hi. Nice haul. What is the pinkish stuff in the lower left of the top photo?

    Glory be, we finally have some rain.

    We’re a bit north of you, about 12 miles east of downtown Seattle, near Woodinville. Our spring was slow too and the garden is a bit out of whack, the weather is out of whack but we are eating our garden now. Our sugar snap peas are just finishing up now, but our artichokes were ready at the end of June, all two of them, and while the plants look healthy and happy there are no more chokes appearing. The beets are just stems and leaves, the pole beans are all plant with only a few beans on them., but the carrots are great. I think our onions and garlic are ready to harvest, I’ll need to check tomorrow. Thanks for reminding me.
    The potatoes are amazingly productive this year so I feel like less of a failure as an Irish woman.

  3. 3

    My “garden” has been wilting in the heat, I’ve lost a couple of flowers. So I decided to drive for about a hour and take some more Milky Way pics. The location is in a mountain valley at the foot of Mt. Pinos. Here’s one of the shots with a bit of light painting in the foreground.

    ETA: I took the pictures on a road called “Boy Scout Camp Road”, being that there’s a Boy Scout camp at the end of the road, Camp Three Falls. I went there a few times back when I was a Boy Scout. I’ve not been back there in about 45 years.

  4. 4
    opiejeanne says:

    P.S. We keep a garden journal too. I draw the beds on one page, number them, then record what I planted where. Good thing because I can’t remember the details of what I’ve planted. I note what did well and what I have not yet found the correct seed/method/placement for, and I note the failures. I have given up on growing peppers and eggplants but artichokes do well and over-winter if I remember to mulch them heavily before the first really cold nights.
    The cucumbers! I forgot the wonderful small cukes we are growing: Harmonie. My favorite seed company dropped it and I had to chase it down online, and found a good new source of seeds to add to the companies I already use.

  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    I had gotten to the top of the artichoke in the bowl when I said, “Ooh, good, Marvel.” Your photos look like Old Masters. And the garden should be in a magazine. So beautiful.

  6. 6
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    The garden looks lovely. I don’t have any plants, but appreciate those who do=they make for the best vegetables ever.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    The maters crashed and burned here as well.

  8. 8
    Jeff says:

    The garden was on its own this summer and it did fairly well. It rained this year for a change. Planted small sweet pumpkins as a ground cover to suppress weeds. Got 6 pumpkin. A zucchini vine came up for the compost pile. No idea where the seed came from. It has only just started to produce. There one small watermelon ripening. In a week I want to rip the pumpkin vines out and plant arugula for the fall.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Enjoy your feast.

  10. 10
    satby says:

    Marvel is so much the master gardener. Beautiful photos! Honestly though, I start to get tired just reading all the effort it takes to have such a great garden. I’m more of a “set it and forget” gardener. I have lots and lots of tomatoes but most are still green, some onions to harvest that were volunteers, and so far have gotten two zucchini. The grasshoppers and crickets are starting to defoliate a lot of my plants, so I have to get spray on them. The tomatoes in boxes have become a jungle of vines and fruit, very productive. So that worked out well.

  11. 11
    Jeffro says:

    Our garden’s a mess, but that’s not going to stop me from making some summer tomato panzanella to accompany some balsamic-glazed chicken for dinner tonight! (I’ll just need a little help from Safeway’s produce department.)

  12. 12
    mainmata says:

    In Silver Spring, MD (near DC), July was often very hot and dry but then turned rainy. This turned out to be okay for our tomatoes and peppers. OTOH, in our Shenandoah, VA farm in the mountains, we have had an absolute bonanza of heritage tomatoes and peppers (we have found that chili peppers, in particular, are highly resilient to weather variables). In the case of the farm, weather was probably less a factor for the bounty than the fact that we bought a load of mushroom farm soil (we have raised beds) and a south facing hill slope.

  13. 13
    Juice Box says:

    I only get good germination from peas when I give them a good soak, usually overnight, before planting.

    I have root knot nematode. I cover cropped with mustard in winter 2015 and got decent tomatoes last summer, but I got bupkus this year.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    I was just thinking about artichokes last night and missing their availability here in Cornland. Sigh.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone 😐😐😐

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning 🌞!

  18. 18
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I don’t do that kind of gardening any more, so I always enjoy this Sunday morning thread.

    But I have some slightly OT good news. Last night my cats killed a giant centipede, the kind with a venomous bite, without damage to themselves.

    I worry particularly about such things because one of my cats, years ago, suddenly went into an almost coma-like state. To the best the vet and I could figure out, he probably ate or was stung by a black widow spider. He came out of it after about a week.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Juice Box: Cover the beds with clear plastic and cook the soil. That will kill the nematodes.

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    Good morning to you and everyone.

    Absolutely nothing to do with gardens or that truly Marvellous produce, which looks beautiful and will undoubtedly make excellent eating, but my electronic tuner has mysteriously cured itself of whatever was ailing it yesterday, and can now hear the B and D strings again. The Girl now sounds like herself.

  21. 21
    satby says:

    Anyone watch the meteor shower last night? It was beautiful, clear, and cool; and one of the times I have missed my old crushed house out in the country because there’s too much light pollution here. And I was far too tired to drive out where I could see it.

  22. 22
    oldgold says:

    Q. What’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
    A. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: I stepped outside for a bit, too much atmospheric haze and a bright moon, was only able to see the brightest stars. Didn’t stay out for very long.

  24. 24
    Jeff says:

    @satby: I saw that was going to happen and of course it was cloudy last night. Once in my life it wasn’t cloudy and I saw them. I have more luck with the Leonids in November.

  25. 25
    satby says:

    OT to gardens, but a fun read about my (and rikyrah’s, I think) old neighborhood hot dog stand.

  26. 26
    chris says:

    @satby: Every year I get excited about the Perseids. Last year during the (unprecedented) drought they were spectacular. This year we’re having a more normal summer so the clouds rolled in Friday evening and won’t clear until tomorrow. Hopes dashed!

    The tourism people here tout the Dark Sky thing all the time but they don’t like to talk about the weather for some reason.

    Just noticed the typo in that article, “astrology enthusiasts.” Haha.

  27. 27
    Yarrow says:

    Marvel, your garden is a marvel, as always. Such a treat to see photos.

    I mentioned in the menu thread that I’m inundated with black-eyed peas and am welcoming any recipes. I just harvested a bunch again today. I’m going to shell and cook them this morning to use in salads and make “Cowboy Caviar” but any other ideas outside the usual Hoppin’ John are welcome!

    I’ve planted the fall tomatoes and am ticked off because something, probably a cat who was scratching after pooping, dug up an heirloom yellow tomato transplant that I will not be able to replace. Gah. Why couldn’t it have picked one I could get again easily?

  28. 28
    Yarrow says:


    What is the pinkish stuff in the lower left of the top photo?

    To me it looks like it’s slightly overgrown cauliflower. It’s just past where the cauliflower head is tight–the florets are beginning to separate out. They’ll bloom if you leave them. I have grown white cauliflower that has purple in the stem area like that.

  29. 29
    Amir Khalid says:

    If someone doesn’t know the difference between astronomy and astrology, and still got hired to write for a living … words fail me.

  30. 30
    satby says:

    @Jeff: @chris: yeah, I can remember years in the country when it was cloudy for every astronomical event 😕. The Leonids were usually better for me too only because colder November weather often brought clear skies. It was ironic that it was perfect viewing last night but I just didn’t want to fall asleep driving out into the country. The moon might have been too bright then too.

  31. 31
    satby says:

    @Amir Khalid: Glad you and The Girl are back to making beautiful music together!

  32. 32
    satby says:

    @chris: You’re in Nova Scotia?! That’s on my bucket list; my maternal grandfather was born there.

  33. 33
    chris says:

    @satby: Hop in your Lear jet and come on up! (I live about 10 miles from the island that James Taylor used to own.)

    Where was grandfather born?

  34. 34
    chris says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well, she is a self-described Disney princess…

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    I am on the train so the top photo took forever to load, but it was worth the wait.n Who knew that a bowl of vegetables could be that beautiful?

    Marvel, how do you guys keep your day jobs? You never fail to amaze.

  36. 36
    Marvel says:

    @WaterGirl: Day jobs? We’re the luckiest people ever: retired.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    @Marvel: Even better!

  38. 38
    opiejeanne says:

    @Yarrow: Thanks. I wondered if it might be cauliflower but I’ve never grown it so I’ve never seen it as it begins to bolt.

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